Articles from August, 2005

NSBA begins to weigh other site options for conference

As the tragic news continues to stream in from the Gulf Coast, hope is dimming for a speedy rebound of New Orleans, the scheduled site for NSBA’s Annual Conference next April. For that reason, NSBA has begun to weigh other options for the conference location. Here is the statement issued as of 5:45 p.m. today:

“At this juncture, we are weighing options regarding the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition scheduled to be held on April 8-11 in New Orleans. We will keep conference registrants and exhibitors updated as we learn more from officials in New Orleans and keep abreast of emerging developments. Conference registration, scheduled to open September 12, will be delayed. Conference housing reservations, scheduled to open October 14, may be delayed as well. Please check NSBA’s Web site at www.nsba.org for frequent updates on new conference registration dates and other details.”

Erin Walsh|August 31st, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Special ed and testing: The debate continues

California may be on the verge of a one-year delay for the requirement for special education students to pass exit exams to graduate. Students get several cracks at the test, and about 88 percent of students of the class of 2006 have already passed it, but only 54 percent and 51 percent of special education students have passed the English and math sections, respectively. Activists say these students need more time. The L.A. Times reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger is likely on board.

The governor of Illinois just signed into law a change in how that state tests special education students. This change is more directly connected to NCLB.

Erin Walsh|August 31st, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

T-shirt watch, the summer edition

School board prayer controversy! A threatened lawsuit! And it all started with a Dam t-shirt! And yes, we spelled that right.

Erin Walsh|August 31st, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Schooling must go on

This just in from CNN. In a live news conference, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that 500 buses will be sent to help evacuate people from the New Orleans Superdome and relocate them to the Houston Astrodome. As part of the effort, children will be able to attend schools in the Houston area while being housed temporarily in the Astrodome.

According to the WWLTV.com blog in New Orleans, the Lafayette Parish is opening their school doors to children who had to evacuate because of Hurricane Katrina. Parents will be able to register their children for school starting today. Burnell Lemoine, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer for the Lafayette Parish School System, says registration ends Thursday and parents will be contacted Friday to let them know what school their children should attend. He says students should be in classes by Tuesday. The children will be assigned to schools depending on the location of their temporary homes or shelters.

Also according to WWL’s blog, the Dallas school district says it will open its doors to “any children of any Hurricane Katrina refugees that ask for it.”

Erin Walsh|August 31st, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Say what?

Mark this down as a candidate for dumbest idea ever. The school’s website is here.

Erin Walsh|August 31st, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

‘This is our tsunami’

That was the characterization by Mayor A.J. Holloway of Biloxi, Miss., to the Biloxi Sun Herald. The state of the K-12 universe in the hurricane-affected area is only now becoming apparent. There is this grim tidbit from the blog of New Orleans station WWL-TV: “2:41 P.M. — Jefferson Parish officials say schools could reopen by Dec. 1.”

Many schools closed to business as usual are proving crucial to their communities. Four East Baton Rouge public schools are serving as emergency shelters, and were occupied mostly by people fleeing the New Orleans area. In Jackson, Miss., 55 of 60 schools are without power, although damage seemed minimal, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. The state schools superintendent says restarting schools is not as big a priority as ensuring that they are available to their communities as shelters.

We will continue to pass along information about the state of hurricane-affected schools. To those school personnel in the area: Please e-mail us. We would love to publish what you have seen. And now: Tornadoes in Georgia …

Erin Walsh|August 30th, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

All eyes on the Big Easy

The country is watching intently as recovery efforts get under way in the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Images and reports broadcast throughout the day from the hardest hit areas become more grim as the water continues to rise in New Orleans. Earlier today, NSBA issued the following statement that noted concern for the people of those areas and the close monitoring of the situation.

“As the site of NSBA’s 2006 Annual Conference and Exposition, New Orleans is in our hearts and minds as its citizens and public officials deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We are confident that the city will be even stronger and more vibrant as its residents and businesses rebuild bolstered by their courageous spirit. At this juncture, we have every expectation that NSBA’s Annual Conference and Exposition April 8-11 will be held in New Orleans as scheduled. We will keep conference registrants and exhibitors updated as we receive information from the city should there be any change.”

For a firsthand account from the area, check out this blog by an assistant professor of mass communication at Louisiana State University.

Erin Walsh|August 30th, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Look ma, no textbooks

Wired reports on one of the first public high schools to shun printed textbooks, Empire High school in Vail, Ariz. The brand new school was designed specifically as a textbook-free environment. The students are issued notebook computers:

Social studies teacher Jeremy Gypton said the transition was easier than expected. Gypton said he assigns readings based on websites, lists postings to news articles, uses online groups and message boards to keep the students connected on weekends and asks them to comment on each other’s work.

One of the more surprising things, he said, was finding that students’ proficiency at video games and e-mail hasn’t always translated into other computer skills.

“One of the greatest challenges actually is getting the kids up to speed in using Word, in using an internet browser for other than a simple global search,” Gypton said.

Also in Wired: Look ma, no chalk boards!

Erin Walsh|August 30th, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Urban boards of excellence cited

Now for some good news! Three urban school boards have been just selected for excellence in board governance, closing the achievement gap, academic achievement, and community engagement. Congrats go to the School District of Hillsborough County in Florida, Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia, and the San Antonio Independent School District in Texas, all of which have been selected as finalists in this year’s award for Urban School Board Excellence sponsored by NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education. The winning district will be announced September 29 at the CUBE Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. The award, supported by McGraw-Hill Education, will be presented to school district officials at a ceremony on October 1. The winning district will receive a $5,000 contribution to its student scholarship fund. More details here.

Erin Walsh|August 30th, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Former voucher school official found guilty in theft from school

A jury found the former chief financial officer of one of Milwaukee’s first voucher schools guilty of 15 charges connected to the theft of up to $750,000 from the school, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The criminal complaint filed against the school official says he diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars into two accounts, and wrote checks to himself, to his other businesses, and to a contractor who worked on his house.

Little wonder that the state recently has moved to exert more oversight on the voucher program, which has suffered from several scandals.

Erin Walsh|August 30th, 2005|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|
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